SOQ-32806 Biological Interactions in Soils


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
One day excursion4
Practical extensively supervised14
Practical intensively supervised42
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. JW van Groenigen
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JW van Groenigen
prof. dr. TW Kuyper
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JW van Groenigen
prof. dr. TW Kuyper

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Ecology - I; Introductory course in Soil Science

Continuation courses:

ESS-31806 Biogeochemical Cycles, SOQ-31806 Nutrient Management, SOQ-30806 Field Practical Soil Quality


This course deals with interactions between soil organisms and soil in the context of cycles of C, N and P. Important topics of soil fertility and global change will be addressed. Keywords: organic matter decomposition and nutrient mineralization, reactions of plants to excess and deficiency, role of plants, mycorrhizas and soil fauna in C, N and P cycles, soil structure, greenhouse gas emissions. The practical will train basic experimental techniques in soil biology and fertility, experimental design and processing of data. Part of the experiments can be designed by the students so that they complete the whole experimental cycle.

Learning outcomes:

After this course the students should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of the main interactions in the soil between plants, nutrients and soil biota;
- demonstrate insight in the effects of human-induced disturbances on these interactions;
- critically evaluate and discuss conflicting views in the literature on key biotic interactions in the soil;
- design, execute and report experiments that quantify interactions between biota and cycles of carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen.


Lectures, practicals (hypothesis formulation and testing; reporting).


Written exam (50%), assignment (10%), practical reports (40%).


Reader Biological Interactions in Soil.

Restricted Optional for: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc2AF
MBIBiologyMScD: Ecology2AF
MEESoil ScienceMScA: Soil Quality2AF
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc2AF
MCLClimate StudiesMSc2AF